Three things to evaluate at your next enterprise job
When I started my career as an IT systems administrator, it had its perks. I enjoyed architecting and deploying new solutions, as well as working internationally. But it wasn’t enough of a challenge, and I wanted to take my career in a different direction. It was that desire that lead me to a vendor support team (Teradici). Given that I was looking for challenges, this new job was a great fit.
I had to wear a variety of different hats in order to fulfill all my responsibilities–technical writing, product implementations, trade shows, training, on sites, and, of course, resolving support escalations. We often collaborated with sales, engineering, marketing, and product management, among others, to ensure that all of the required features were in future iterations of the product. I thought I had found the job I was looking for, until I made my annual trek to VMworld.
At VMworld I was on booth duty, which was something I enjoyed as I got to interact with customers/vendors and competitors. After I was done, I wandered around to some of the other displays, and this is where I came across Coho Data(enterprise storage).
Changing careers or companies is never something I took lightly. So when I approached my shift from IT systems administrator to Teradici, I thought long and hard about what I wanted.
Things were no different when I thought about joining Coho Data. It was important for me to evaluate the company on all levels–what were the company’s goals? What about their technology? And last, but not least, what about the company culture?
Coho Data had all the right answers to my questions.
There are many storage companies, but very few aim to be more than storage. I wanted to join a company that was aiming to do more, and I wanted it to deliver value to customers and be around for the long haul. This was what I saw with Coho Data. They wanted to build a platform that delivered value to enterprise customers beyond just storing data. They wanted to actually make it easier to use and deploy. Crucially, they wanted to do all of this while they were building a great company with amazing people. Being in support, these tenets really appealed to me because it’s critical that the customer feels the company is going to be around, cares about the customer’s needs, and will continually be innovating..
When I’m considering making a major change, I always consider the technology of the new company–not just what they are doing now, or even what they will do this year, but rather whether they are building something that can be innovated upon without requiring constant re-architecting. This was what sold me on Coho, the ability to build something that customers could use now, but also develop on for the future.
Coho did this by doing two key things: They use SDN to present a single global NFS mount point to ESXi clients. To achieve this openflow switches are part of the storage architecture. The DataStream’s built-in OpenFlow controller instructs the switch to direct requests to the node in the cluster that holds the data object the host wants to access.This also allows customers future expansion freedom by adding the benefit of being able to scale a datastream deployment without modifying any of the end-end configuration. SDN isn’t a buzzword to Coho, it is part of the core design.
The next aspect was the ability to scale performance and capacity on demand without requiring constant reconfiguration of the system. As I reviewed Coho, I realized this was a core focus of the product, being able to scale-out storage with ease. This was achievable by having an architecture that uses a bare metal object store (CLOS). The bare metal object store is responsible for replicating files to the lower tier disk and replicating files to other nodes in the cluster without requiring any intervention. Thus as additional DataStream appliances are added to the cluster, the bare metal object store automatically rebalances the load providing failover and load balancing across the entire system.
Culture was critical to me and I wanted to make sure I vetted the company properly before I joined. After VMworld, I felt inspired to get out of my comfort zone and work in a creative environment that is generally only found in startups. That’s what began my interactions with Coho Data. I knew the technology from a high level but I wanted to understand the company and culture.
No one advertises that they have poor culture. On the contrary, everyone advertises how great their culture is. To really vet Coho, I was aided by an inside man–a former Teradici colleague had recently joined the Coho dev team. I reached out on LinkedIn,“So you’re at Coho, what is the culture like?”
My former colleague instantly responded. He underscored Coho’s emphasis on innovation and creativity. He said Coho was a place where one has to wear many different hats–a place that challenges individuals and teams to grow. Needless to say, that was right up my alley. After receiving such a strong endorsement on its culture from a former colleague, I decided to apply, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Since joining Coho Data in November, I haven’t been disappointed. The culture here is all about doing the right thing to resolve any problem. If that means helping the customer overcome a infrastructure design problem even if it has nothing to do with the Coho, we jump in and do whatever it takes to help the customer succeed.
I think it is very critical to make sure you research a company from all aspects: company, technology, and culture to truly understand if it is a place you want to be and a place you help succeed. That’s why you have to take your time. But there’s going to be a point where you also have to take a risk. You’re never going to fully know what it’s like until you try.
P.S. We are hiring at Coho.
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